MADISON — The University of Wisconsin System Board of Regents on Friday (April 2) formally expressed its concern about a proposed state constitutional amendment to control state spending, but reaffirmed the board’s willingness to remain engaged in efforts addressing the state’s revenue and tax challenges.
Reporting on behalf of the Business and Finance Committee, Regent Mark Bradley of Wausau summarized Thursday’s presentation by Rep. Gregg Underheim regarding legislation that would amend the state’s constitution and limit tax growth.
Overall, regents indicated concern that proposed tax reform measures would preclude long-term investments in education and other programs vital to Wisconsin’s future economic security, including the University of Wisconsin System.
Although the Business and Finance Committee did not offer a recommendation or full analysis of this or other tax reform proposals, several regents expressed interest in taking an early stand against using a highly restrictive constitutional amendment. The committee has now received three presentations related to a “Taxpayers’ Bill of Rights” or TABOR bill, which, if passed by both houses of the state Legislature, would begin the multi-year process of amending the state’s constitution.
“It is vitally important that the Board of Regents not be neutral. A [constitutional amendment] abrogates responsibility for legislative decision-making to rules and formulas, and puts us behind the eight ball,” said Regent Vice President David Walsh of Madison. “The bottom line is that this institution is going to be impacted more than we can imagine.”
“We need to have a real sense of urgency about this,” offered Regent Chuck Pruitt of Shorewood. “We need to counter the TABOR steamroller before it gathers considerable momentum.”
Regent Fred Mohs of Madison observed that legislators who are drafting TABOR legislation are doing so in response to voter concern. “They are trying to do something they think is right,” he said, but adding, “There is nobody on this board who doesn’t think that TABOR is an extremely damaging concept for this university. It’s hard to imagine anything that would have more far-reaching results.”
“While we are making a statement, we need to also be sensitive to the public’s desire for tax relief,” said Regent Gerard Randall of Milwaukee.
After several regents expressed reservations about formally opposing broad policy concepts and draft legislation that had not been reviewed in detail, Bradley observed that the board’s concern was focused on the highly restrictive measures offered in legislative proposals reviewed thus far.
“Our objection is with a constitutional amendment that does not allow people to sit down and reasonably establish responsible spending limits,” Bradley said.
Regent Jose Olivieri of Milwaukee offered a formal resolution which was adopted by the board that expressed the regents’ willingness to participate in the ongoing public policy debate about tax reform, while outlining their particular concerns about formula-based constitutional amendments.
Regents review preliminary budget recommendations
Following months of work on “Charting a New Course,” a strategic study of the UW System’s long-term direction, the Board of Regents reviewed preliminary ideas from five working groups that may provide the framework for new initiatives in the next state biennial budget. No formal proposals were offered or voted upon, but the working groups expressed support for budget proposals that would:
- Increase financial aid by restoring $45 million in state tax support for the Higher Education Aids Board (HEAB) budget, and provide a $12.6 million increase in funds for financial aid programs administered by the UW System;
- Stabilize state support for higher education overall;
- Restore faculty positions lost in recent budget cuts so students can get the classes they need for timely graduation;
- Enhance academic and career advising resources on the 26 UW campuses;
- Expand library and technology resources and address critical infrastructure needs;
- Fund new pilot programs to promote administrative collaboration and investments in educational quality at the 15 UW institutions;
- Support implementation of successful pre-college programs that increase the success of disadvantaged and minority high school students in post-secondary education;
- Enhance access to higher education for non-traditional adult students and support workforce development.
“Ours is a potential that is under extreme duress,” said Regent Guy Gottschalk of Wisconsin Rapids, chair of the Charting study. “This is a defining moment. How we identify and articulate our priorities, and how we will go about achieving them, will determine this university’s success 10 and 15 years from now.”
In thanking the working group leaders for these preliminary budget-related items, he noted that these short-term proposals do not capture the “big and bold ideas” that will come out of the study.
“We have barely scratched the surface in revealing the breadth and depth of our thinking,” Gottschalk said.
The final report is scheduled to be presented to the full Board of Regents in June.
Regents appoint next UW-Stevens Point Chancellor
Linda Bunnell, former senior vice president for the College Board and Chancellor Emerita of the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs, has been appointed as the 13th chancellor of the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point, following a closed session of the Board of Regents on Friday.
The Board of Regents approved the appointment following the recommendation of UW System President Katharine C. Lyall and the Board of Regents’ Special Committee for the UW-Stevens Point Chancellor Search.
“I am delighted and honored to be joining the UW-Stevens Point community. The university is helping central Wisconsin to grow and thrive and I look forward to being part of that exciting process,” Bunnell said in a statement. “I recognize the challenges we face, but I am confident that we can rise to meet those challenges and carry the institution to even greater levels of excellence and service if we work together—our administrative team, faculty, staff, students, alumni and members of the broader regional community.”
Bunnell will start her new position on June 1.
Regents present 2004 Academic Staff excellence awards
The Board of Regents honored two academic staff members from within the UW System on Friday with the 2004 Regent Academic Staff Awards for Excellence.
The awards are an opportunity for the board to acknowledge the significant contributions members of the academic staff make to UW institutions and the university as a whole, said Regent Eileen Connolly-Keesler of Oshkosh, who chaired the regent selection committee.
“We are honored to present this award in recognition of their exemplary efforts, their institutional loyalty, their professionalism, and their devotion to serving students and Wisconsin citizens,” Connolly-Keesler said.
The first award went to Deon Nontelle of UW-La Crosse, who Connolly-Keesler said is a “great inspiration.” Nontelle has worked as a teacher and academic staff lab manager at UW-La Crosse since 1973. She also serves as director and manager at the campus greenhouse, where she devotes time toward caring for plant collections during weekend and holiday hours. Each semester, Nontelle is responsible for 40 labs, more than 1,000 students and 17 lab managers.
Nontelle thanked the academic staff council and chancellor at UW-La Crosse, where she said she is fortunate to work as part of a department that supports all of her endeavors.
“It is such a joy to receive an award for something you truly love to do,” Nontelle said.
Regent Gerard Randall presented the second award to Pamela Fendt, a senior researcher at the UWM Center for Economic Development. Randall said Fendt was nominated and selected for the award because “she simply cares about doing good work and making contributions to her community.”
Fendt is considered a national expert on the effects of Wisconsin’s welfare reform policy, W-2. In her position with UWM, Fendt has worked to improve economic development on the near north side of Milwaukee.
In accepting the award, Fendt said she was proud to have a position that allows her to build on the education she received as a student at UWM. “I feel very fortunate to work for the Center for Economic Development and its mission,” she said.
Board remembers UW-River Falls Chancellor Ann Lydecker
UW-River Falls Chancellor Ann M. Lydecker will be remembered for her positive contributions and commitment to education, the Board of Regents noted Friday during a presentation of a memorial resolution in her honor. Lydecker died in an auto accident on March 25.
Board President Toby Marcovich of Superior presented the resolution, which noted her achievements and the legacy she leaves behind. Marcovich said he was especially proud to have served on the committee that named her as chancellor at the River Falls campus.
UW-Green Bay Chancellor Bruce Shepard, who said he first met Lydecker when they both served as provosts elsewhere, said Lydecker was part of the glue that holds the together the team of UW chancellors.
“We mourn the loss of what she continually gave to our shared enterprise,” Shepard said. “It’s is the loss of such a good friend and good person that we feel so deeply.”
UW System President Katharine C. Lyall also praised Lydecker’s leadership and read portions from a speech on women in leadership that Lydecker had been scheduled to present at UW-Platteville the day she died, including the importance of letting your humanity shine through.
Minnesota proposes changes to reciprocity agreement, president reports
The state of Minnesota has considered changes to the reciprocity agreement with Wisconsin that enables students to attend college in each state at costs that are roughly equivalent to resident tuition, UW System President Katharine C. Lyall said Friday.
Currently, Wisconsin students are able to attend Minnesota colleges for approximately $1,400 less than a Minnesota student would pay, she said.
“For a number of reasons, I hope that reciprocity remains in place between our states,” Lyall said. “If reciprocity were eliminated, it is likely that many Wisconsin students would stay home and increase the enrollment pressures on our campuses, while others would choose to leave the state for college. In Wisconsin, UW-Madison and our western comprehensives could be significantly impacted.”
Lyall said the Wisconsin-Minnesota reciprocity agreement is negotiated between the state higher education aid agencies, in Wisconsin, the Higher Educational Aids Board. Negotiations for next year are complete.
“Past examinations of this issue have led to the conclusion that reciprocity works well for both states,” Lyall said. “I hope that this will continue to be the case.”
Board approves pay plan parity resolution
The Board on Friday approved a resolution that directs the UW System president to submit recommendations to the state that would make the university’s pay plan more equitable.
The request would allow unclassified faculty and staff to receive a salary adjustment and benefits pay plan that is fair with regard to pay plans established for other state employees.
“This is not a request for new money,” said Regent Mark Bradley, who offered the resolution for approval during a report of the Business and Finance Committee. “This is a request to use money in the compensation reserve.”
The request also asks for adjustments in health insurance contributions and domestic partner health benefits.
The Board also passed resolutions to:
- accept an annually required report on minority and disadvantaged students;
- accept an annually required report on the university’s efforts to educate students on sexual assault and sexual harassment;
- approve requests for $5.3 million in funding from the Vilas Trust in support of scholarships, fellowships, and programs in arts and humanities, social sciences and music;
- approve a UW-Milwaukee charter school contract;
- approve changes in faculty personnel policies at UW-Whitewater;
- approve UW System appointments to the Natural Areas Preservation Council;
- approve expansion of the UW-Extension Board of Visitors;
- accept bequests of $50,000 or more;
- purchase equipment for three Wisconsin Public Radio stations to comply with High Definition Radio standards approved by the Federal Communications Commission, and approve a request to substitute grant funding for institutional funds should more grant funding become available; and
- lease sites at the UW-Madison Marshfield Agricultural Research Station in Marshfield, Wisconsin, to the U.S. Department of Agriculture as part of a joint research project.
The Board of Regents will hold its next meeting on May 5 and 6, 2004, in Van Hise Hall on the UW-Madison campus
April 2, 2004
WHEREAS, the University of Wisconsin System shares in the commitment to control spending in the State of Wisconsin and has, in fact, contributed by reducing its GPR spending in this biennium; and
WHEREAS, the University of Wisconsin Board of Regents believes that the development of state funding limits is a process that requires ongoing communication, and board members, the president, chancellors and UW staff have been discussing such proposals with legislators; and
WHEREAS, all such proposals so far advanced have involved a constitutional amendment to limit state spending which, as we have seen experienced in other states, would limit the state’s ability to invest in education which is critical to state economic growth;
BE IT THEREFORE RESOLVED that the UW Board of Regents expresses its grave concern about proposals that have so far been advanced to its members, and the board expresses further grave concerns with regard to proposals that might exempt the University of Wisconsin System but would negatively impact other components of public education and spending which would, in turn, negatively impact the University of Wisconsin System.
Katharine C. Lyall, President
University of Wisconsin System
I want to thank those chancellors and regents who attended Ann Lydecker’s memorial service on Monday. As I noted then, this is only the third time that the UW System has gathered to remember a chancellor who died in office. The first time in 1967 was when a helicopter carrying several UW officials including UW-Stevens Point Chancellor James Albertson went down in Vietnam; the second was when UW Colleges Chancellor Lee Grugel died unexpectedly in 1997 of a heart attack, and now, in 2004, our loss of Chancellor Lydecker in an automobile accident. These are the times at which we come to really appreciate how much we count on the university and civic leadership of our chancellors.
Ann was on her way to a Women’s History event at UW-Platteville. By chance, I have her notes on what she intended to say there about “leadership” – they contain some good advice:
- Be yourself—emotions are okay; so are colors.
- Respect human dignity—don’t be afraid to get your hands dirty, no one gets anywhere alone.
- Smiles and hugs go a long way.
- Leave the world a better place than when you arrived.
She did – we’ll miss Ann.
You may have seen recent press reports that Minnesota is considering changing the reciprocity agreement with Wisconsin that enables students to attend college in each state at essentially their home state tuition. Because Minnesota tuition has risen faster than ours, Wisconsin students can attend Minnesota colleges for about $1,400 less tuition than a Minnesota student.
For a number of reasons, I hope that reciprocity remains in place between our states. First, reciprocity maximizes student choice and minimizes costs by enabling each state to avoid duplication of many specialized programs that otherwise would have to be offered in both states. Second, a concern that the University of Minnesota and the UW System share is that the tuition payments of students in the reciprocity program do not go to the university, but go into the state general fund. At the end of each year, the state treasurers make a balancing payment in one direction or the other so neither university sees a financial benefit from serving home students over others. Third, if reciprocity were eliminated, the flows of students between our states would likely change. Today, about 13,000 Minnesota students come to Wisconsin campuses and about 10,000 Wisconsin students go to Minnesota campuses. If reciprocity were eliminated, it is likely that many Wisconsin students would stay home and increase the enrollment pressures on our campuses while others would choose to leave the state for college. In Wisconsin, UW-Madison and our western Comprehensives could be significantly impacted.
The Wisconsin-Minnesota Reciprocity agreement is negotiated every few years between the state higher education aid agencies (Higher Educational Aids Board [HEAB] in Wisconsin). Negotiations for next year are complete and, aside from a clarification that graduate assistants are covered by the agreement, no changes have been made for next year. It is linked in the same statute with income tax reciprocity for residents who live in one state and work in the other. Past examinations of this issue have led to the conclusion that reciprocity works well for both states. I hope that this will continue to be the case.
2005-07 Budget Development
Just a reminder that we continue through the budget development process the Board adopted in February. We are headed towards a set of draft documents on which we will ask you to make some preliminary choices in June, and a final budget document for action in August. Last month, you discussed the elements of a financial aid request that would ensure current aid levels would be maintained and grow slightly after the one-time funds for financial aid run out at the end of next year.
Later this morning, the Charting groups will report out the items they are recommending that have a budgetary impact. Some of these recommendations are short-term (for 2005-07) and some are longer term. We are not asking you to vote on these today (that will come in June), but we do need your discussion, questions, and thoughts about these recommendations so that we can provide you the best-developed choices in June. So, please listen carefully and raise the questions that can help staff develop these well.
Good News . . .
UW-Parkside Gets Campus Contract Grant
Congratulations to UW-Parkside, home to the Wisconsin Campus Compact, which has received the largest AmeriCorps VISTA grant in the country ($484,000). The Compact is recruiting 35 AmeriCorps VISTA student volunteers to serve one year in communities across the state. The service assignments are targeted to developing lasting solutions to problems of poverty in local communities.
The Wisconsin Campus Compact is a coalition of 30 Wisconsin postsecondary institutions committed to service learning as part of the undergraduate curriculum. Volunteers receive a very modest living allowance and, at the end of their service, an educational grant of $4,725.
All our UW campuses are members of Campus Compact. Thanks especially to Chancellor Keating for hosting this important service program at UW-Parkside.
UW Staffer Goes to NCAA
UW System Administration is losing one of our key staffers, Erik Christianson, our press officer, who has just been recruited to be the Press Director for the NCAA. The NCAA really had their timing right, recruiting Erik, a basketball player, during the Final Four playoffs. Erik has made our communications program more efficient and saved us public dollars by moving a number of publications from print to online and beefing up our website. We’ll miss Erik and will look for his face at national press conferences in the future!
UW Poster Session in Capitol
We have two special events coming up that showcase the work of our students and our alumni.
On Tuesday, April 27, in the State Capitol from 11:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. more than 100 undergraduate research exhibits will feature the extraordinary work of UW students and faculty in the research arena. All of our four-year, and most of our two-year, campuses will be represented there. At noon, a short program featuring Regent Walsh, Vice President Marrett, Corvy Hovis from the National Science Foundation (NSF), legislators, and a representative of the Governor’s office will talk about the importance of research. Some of these student exhibitors will then travel to Oshkosh to participate in the systemwide undergraduate research poster session the next day.
We are preparing our students for the knowledge-economy and these exhibits will show you just how and what that means.
I’d also alert you that on May 7, the UW Alumni Network is sponsoring our first statewide “UW Spirit Day.” By conservative estimates, there are some half-million people in Wisconsin who have graduated from, are enrolled in, or work at our 15 institutions. We are asking them to celebrate their UW ties on May 7 by wearing their school colors, logo wear, or one of the buttons you have before you today.
I want to thank our campus alumni directors and university relations staff for originating this idea—while renewing ties with our alumni we’ll be providing a very visible reminder of how much the university affects the lives of every citizen in the state.
That also happens to be a Regent day, so we’re asking you to join us in wearing your school colors and the UW button to that meeting. To give you a head start we’ve provided you a button and some stickers to share. (By the way, we’ve used private funds to pay for these.) Check out the special Spirit Day website at www.wisconsin.edu/spirit.
UW-Milwaukee Graduate Mounts Museum Exhibit
UW-Milwaukee graduate student Jocelyn Boor, who is an intern at the Milwaukee Public Museum, has used her internship to help stage the exhibit “Quest for Immortality,” which focuses on ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia. Working under the direction of Carter Lupton, a UWM alumnus and curator of the Museum, Boor is learning about the layout, training, and publicity aspects of mounting a major museum exhibit. Boor finished her certificate in museum studies at UWM in 2000 and her master’s degree in anthropology in 2001. Her career is pulling these areas together perfectly.
Mascots and Cheerleaders
The UW-Milwaukee Dance Team won a national collegiate Hip Hop championship and took home the gold for Division I schools this month. The Panther Dance Team consists of 14 members who promote school spirit through cheerleading and choreographed routines at major athletics events and community appearances. The competition they won was broadcast on ESPN and seen nationwide.
You may not know that UWM also conducts one of the nation’s largest summer schools for team mascots, teaching these intrepid souls how to survive the heat inside those animal suits and how to handle fans who may have had a bit too much good cheer! Next time you enjoy the mascots and cheerleaders at an event, remember that they probably learned it at UWM!
UW-Madison’s Improvement Showcase
As we continue to seek ways to be most efficient and effective with our resources during these tight times, I’d like to alert you to an event with just that aim.
UW-Madison will hold its fifth annual Improvement Showcase on April 5. The theme is “Organizational Effectiveness: Improving Work, Learning and Climate.” Over 50 examples of improvements from across campus will be showcased. Faculty and staff attend the Showcase to find best practices to apply to their own units. Over 200 improvement examples over the five years have included:
- Over $1 million in annual savings in purchasing and library acquisitions through collaboration with other Big Ten universities;
- Technology solutions to speed admissions, accounting, scholarships, and remodeling; and
- Campus-wide systems for improving student success through advising, first year programs, learning communities, and by identifying students most at risk and matching them with appropriate resources.
The event will also feature workshops on tools and approaches for making improvements, as well as a national speaker, Dr. Brent Ruben, author of “Pursuing Excellence in Higher Education.” You are invited to attend Showcase 2004 at the Fluno Center from 7:45 a.m. to 12:00 noon on Monday, April 5. If you have questions, contact the Office of Quality Improvement at 262-6843.